Japanese Episode
BW 044

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BW 044
Episode Stats:

Japanese Episode BW 044:  "Beware of Choroneko!  Nyasu and Mijumaru!!"
American Episode 1444:  "Purrloin: Sweet or Sneaky?"

Pokemon Live Caster:  Tsunbear
Japanese Air Date:  August 25th, 2011
American Air Date:  December 3rd, 2011
Important Characters:  Misha (Misha)

A Choroneko steals some fruit from the nest of a Hatoboh, angering the entire flock.  Some time later, that same Choroneko comes across Satoshi and his friends as they continue toward Raimon City.  As soon as the pokemon arrives, Dent recalls a bad memory from his past and warns the others not to trust it.  Suddenly, the Hatoboh catch up with the cat pokemon and attack the group!  After Satoshi defeats them in battle, he and his friends discover that both Nyasu and Mijumaru are infatuated with Choroneko!  As the two fawn over the cat pokemon, it spots Satoshi's Berry-filled backpack and plots to take it.  It lures the gang into a defunct mine and, after a few unsuccessful attempts, separates Satoshi from his backpack.  It's about to leave its victims stranded in a pit when its trainer, a girl named Misha, appears on the scene!  Nyasu explains that Choroneko ran away after it was abandoned by its trainer, but Misha says that it's all a misunderstanding.  She tells them that she got in an accident while she was out and that her pokemon had already left by the time she was dismissed from the hospital.  The two make up and Choroneko, with the help of the Hatoboh it had angered earlier, help rescue everyone from the bottom of the pit.  Once outside, Nyasu and Mijumaru are shocked to learn that Misha's Choroneko is a male!  As their love quickly dies, a helicopter bearing the mark of the Rocket-Dan arrives in Kanawa Town.

A cat and an otter want to have some freaky inter-species romance?  No problem!  But wait...they're both boys!?  You mean, like, a boy otter and a boy cat!?  Oh wait, nevermind, that's weird and gross and I don't much care for it.

As ridiculous as it is, this episode probably has one of the better joke endings in the franchise. 
It's an entertaining enough of a story the first viewing, but it's even better the second time through with the knowledge that Misha's Choroneko is a male.  Some may question how nobody could figure out that Choroneko was a dude, but I think that's alright since we humans sometimes have the same problem.

I also loved the subplot with Dent hating Choroneko because of something that happened in his childhood.  I do worry that the reveal of what happened and the subsequent getting over it is going to disappoint us - what do you want to bet it's something stupid like "A Choroneko ruined this meal I was cooking"? - but I guess I really should try to give the writers the benefit of the doubt.  I do hope they don't have Cabernet show up with a Choroneko at some point in the future, though, because they kind of already did that already with Urara owning a Plusle and Minun.

What else?  I thought the whole plotline with Misha and Choroneko was nice, but the shots we got of the potted plant kind of bugged me.  Just how long did Misha spend in the hospital with that broken arm?  Long enough for her dandelion-looking thing (maybe someone who's more horticulturally knowledgeable can help me out with that?) to wither and die? 
And aren't broken arms (and I'm assuming that's what she had, since the episode never bothers to tell us for some reason) usually an outpatient thing anyway?

And while I've been pretty happy with most of the CGI in this show so far, the computer generated quicksand or whatever the hell that's supposed to be in that abandoned mine looked just awful.  The computer animation made the hand drawn stuff look extra flat, which in turn gave the whole sequence this "paper dolls on top of computer backgrounds" feel to it.  I guess I'm being hard on this because I really love the painted backgrounds in this show and feel like the CGI, when it's used as poorly as it is in this episode, really takes away from the work the artists did such a fantastic job on.

A lot of people seem surprised that the English dub didn't censor the "Choroneko is a boy!" thing even though there's absolutely no precedent for anything like this.  This dub may have censored a lot of things over the years, but it's never had a problem with homosexuality in its nearly decade and a half on the air.  And I mean really, look at all the lines they gave James and Harley to make them even more stereotypically gay than they were in the Japanese version!  Other than that, there's way too much dub music in this episode, which is really disappointing considering how this season started out.  The contracts or the greed or the stubbornness or whatever it is that's keeping this show from keeping all its Japanese music needs to hurry up and die off.

Dialogue Edit
As Meowth talks about how great it is to be traveling with new people:

Meowth:  "Come on.  I consider traveling around with you twerps to be a privilege and an honor."
Pikachu:  "Pika Pika Pika!"
Ash:  "I guess you still don't trust Meowth yet, do ya buddy?"

"I mean, he's still going around calling us twerps even though he supposedly likes us now.  There's nothing suspicious about that at all!"

As was the case in the previous episode, Nyasu doesn't call Satoshi and his friends Jari Boy (the Japanese equivalent of "twerps") in the original.

After Purrloin asks Meowth for his help:

Cilan:  "You'd better take Purrloin's cuteness with a grain of salt."
Meowth:  "Oh ye of little faith.  Leave it to good ol' Meowth.  It's part of a Meowth's code to be of service to sweetiepies."
Purrloin:  "Purrloin Purrloin~!"

"Part of a Meowth's code?"  Is it also part of a Meowth's code to spout random bullshit to pokemon you've just met?

Originally, Nyasu tells Choroneko that he'll offer to help it.

When the flock of Tranquill attack, Ash decides to fight back:

Ash:  "They're mad about something, but who cares?  Oshawott, I choose you!"

"Yeah!  Who cares if they're pissed off?  Certainly not me, a kid who hates Pokémon and never does anything to help them out, ever!"

Originally, Satoshi says kou nattara... (こうなったら。。。) or "in that case..." to connect his observation of the pokemon's anger to his command for Mijumaru to come out.  He certainly doesn't say as anything as horrendously out-of-character as Ash does.

By the river, Iris fawns over Purrloin:

Iris:  "That cute tail..."
Cilan:  "Just like a pitchfork."

Originally, Dent says that Choroneko's tail is like that of a devil.  "Pitchfork" is actually a really, really clever substitution and I really have to give TPCI props for coming up with a line that has the same feel of the original while avoiding the forbidden d-word.  I doubt I would have been able to come up with anything as clever.

Toward the end of the episode, Meowth and the others are rescued by the flock of Tranquill.  Once outside:

Meowth:  "Purrloin may have ticked off those Tranquill before, but thanks to this sweet-talkin' Pokémon, they still came back and saved our skins."

Nyasu doesn't say anything about Choroneko being a "sweet talker" in the Japanese version.  Instead, he talks about how it risked being injured (hence all the scratches we see on its body later) to approach the flock of Hatohboh and get them to help.

Meowth asks Purrloin out again:

Misha:  "Thank you all.  That means so very much to both of us."
Meowth:  "Aw, it was nuttin'.  All in the line of duty.  I only ask one eensy beensy little favor."
Misha:  "What's that?"
Meowth:  "Come on baby, don't say maybe!  Please go out on a date with me and make me a happy Pokémon!"

Here, Nyasu calls Misha okaasama (お母様), or "mother."  Misha repeats this "mother?" back to him, unaware of how he feels about her pokemon.

Also, I find it a bit unsettling that Meowth goes around referring to himself as a "Pok
émon" as much as he does.  This isn't the first time he's done this, of course, but it really stuck out to me this time for some reason.  I guess it's the fact that if somebody went up to me and said "please go out on a date with me and make me a happy human!," which is the equivalent of what Meowth is saying here, I'd probably make a run for it.

After finding out that Purrloin is a guy:

Cilan:  "There.  Talk about a menu substitution."
Ash:  "Nice, Cilan!"

"Menu substitution?"  Does Cilan think someone switched out a female Purrloin with a male Purrloin at some point?  Or that Purrloin's hoo-hoo got swapped out with a ding-dong?  And why is Ash acting like Cilan just delivered this amazing zinger?  Would the kids to whom this show is targeted understand this exchange at all?

Originally, Dent just says that this whole situation has a "bad taste."

Side Note
And here's an interesting tidbit for all you credits nerds out there.  Sonoda Hideki (園田英樹) did the screenplay for this episode, but when this episode aired on TV, Tomioka Atsuhiro's (冨岡淳広) name was listed in the credits instead.  Whoops!  Mr. Sonoda posted about this on his Twitter account a few days after the episode aired, and OLM responded by fixing the credits on the rental DVD release.

TV version
DVD version

You can click on the images above to see what I'm talking about:  the top one is from the original TV-Tokyo broadcast while the bottom one is from the rental DVD.

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